Smart packaging and intelligent technologies can be adapted to offer value to the Chinese packaging sector, which is undergoing enormous expansion.
According to Euromonitor, consumer packaged goods packaging in China are being shaped by shifting market conditions, changes in consumer demands and behaviour.
The quickened life pace in China is driving growth of convenience-orientated packaging such as PET jars and collapsible metal tubes.
Within beverages, technologies and subcultural elements are being used on labels, making the products more attractive to young groups.
New technologies are transforming the lives of people, especially the tech-savvy youngsters. Having long recognized the potential of this consumer segment, more and more soft drinks manufacturers started using emerging technologies to boost sales and increase benefits within this group.
A rising post-1990s generation is emerging as a strong engine of consumption, and it is changing the rules for China’s consumer packaged goods market, such as alcoholic drinks. For instance, a great number of homosexual materials, including comics and movies, are being discussed and shared online, making some of the younger groups in China much more open to the LGBTQ community.
Riding on the swift growth of active and intelligent packaging in Asia, AIPIA established an office in Shanghai in 2014 to better serve its Chinese members and has organized five summits in the country.
“APAC, but particularly China, has the most potential growth prospects for Active & Intelligent Packaging on the planet,” said Eef de Ferrante, MD, AIPIA.
“We believe the time is perfect to offer China’s packaging professionals and Brand owners a window into the complete world of active and intelligent packaging technology.”
“With the huge expansion in the internal markets for CPGs in China, and the high levels of e-commerce and smartphone penetration, there is a perfect combination of circumstances for A&IP to grow. We believe 2019 is the right time to upscale our activities in China and show this market exactly what A&IP can do and how it can add value.”
This year’s summit in Shanghai was co-organized with Prime Business Consulting, AIPIA’s representative in China with speakers including: Taobo Zhu, business development director, Amcor; Joe Belenardo, senior VP, global sales, Systech; Zhang XiaoXiang, smart packaging business development manager, Stora Enso and Kang Yufei, Sr. associate principle engineer, Mondelēz.
“We have worked successfully with AIPIA for the last five years to organize smaller conferences. Each time the event has grown much bigger. In 2018 it attracted almost 200 delegates so the timing is perfect to bring AIPIA’s successful formula to a bigger audience in China as this market is hungry to learn about these technologies,” said Wu Chaowu, CEO, Prime Business Consulting.
The two-day event saw more than 20 speakers, plus a Demonstration Area, where delegates could see some of the latest A&IP products and services in action. Topics included; supply chain issues, anti- counterfeiting measures, food packaging for extended shelf life and smart packaging to increase consumer engagement.
Speaking at the event, John Beerens, head of sales, Kezzler, which serialization technology helps to protect brands and consumers with a unique identity code shared a recent case study for the Chinese market where the firm has been contracted to apply secure and traceable codes to 80 million units of an infant formula brand annually for supply chain visibility and supporting food safety and consumer confidence.
“By tracking products from creation to consumption brands can both address concerns about fraudulent products in-market and engage with consumers directly,” he said.
“In the wake of the melamine infant formula scandal in China in 2008 and concerns about unauthorized distribution we have deployed a technology that provides end-to-end unit level tracking and creates a mechanism for consumers to directly authenticate their products in real-time using their phone.”
"In this case Kezzler’s technology is being used to engage consumers directly, with a hidden QR code also providing access to consumer loyalty programs and promotions,” added Beerens.
“The benefits to the consumer include reassurance that the product is authentic and safe for use, and the ability to retrieve additional information about the product’s history and origin beyond what is available on the label.
Beijing China office
“They can also benefit through the accumulation of loyalty points. Meanwhile, the brand benefits from full supply chain visibility, increased consumer loyalty and the additional insights into consumer behavior and purchasing patterns.”
The speech comes as the company announces the opening of an office in Beijing, China, in response to increasing demand from Asian markets for serialization business services.
“Given that the Chinese market is the second-largest consumer market in the world, opening an office in Beijing is a great opportunity for us to capitalize on our existing work in Asia where we have already deployed solutions for the likes of Reckitt Benckiser Group and Pfizer Viagra,” added Beerens.
In other news, Systech, supply chain security and brand protection specialist, and Toppan Printing, headquartered in Japan, (both members of AIPIA) announced they have signed a five-year global licensing agreement to integrate Systech's digital e-Fingerprint technology into Toppan's printing offerings.
"The embedding of Systech's e-fingerprint technology into Toppan's established offering delivers the promise of intelligent packaging on a massive global scale," said Ara Ohanian, CEO, Systech.
The collaboration allows Systech and Toppan to deliver brand protection that combats counterfeiting and prevent product diversion worldwide.
Takeshi Kabayama, head of Toppan's platform business center said Systech harnesses existing product barcodes and packaging to create a unique signature that cannot be duplicated.